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Sitting here, looking back at 2016, I can proudly and thankfully say it was such an amazing year for our family. I am so grateful for all the things our family was blessed with this year, as well as all the places we visited and the people we met. At the beginning of this year, our family had no plans that were set in stone. But as the year went by, so many things unraveled and we are thankful for each and every one of it.
This post is going to be long, so grab a glass of wine or coffee or juice; and some popcorn and be my guest!
We started of the New Year in the warmth of Florida. I absolutely hate cold, and even though California doesn’t get as cold as other states, I love to find every reason to travel somewhere warmer. We spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day 2016 in Sarasota and then drove to Fort Myers and spent a few more days prior to flying back home.
On New Year’s Eve, we went to the Sarasota Pineapple Drop in downtown. We wanted to do something family friendly, and this was perfect. It was just like a fair. There were bands playing, lots to eat, games and rides; lots of family fun. Before midnight, they do a countdown to the New Year as they drop a huge colorful pineapple. If you happen to find yourself in Sarasota on New Year’s Eve with your family, please put this on your list.
We spent New Year’s Day with a friend of mine, Ashleah and her family. I joined a ‘mommy group’ on Facebook when I found out I was pregnant with Aiden and that’s where I met her. This was our first-time meeting in person, and our families had a great time together.
off to snake island
Aiden & McKinley
Our last few days were spent at a beachfront resort in Fort Myers. The view from our hotel room balcony was just amazing.
Florida is one of my favorite states to visit. Good food, good weather – can’t beat that.
- Ells Turns 16
The day after Ells turned 16 she hurried me to the DMV for her permit. Photo below is from her 9th birthday and her 16th birthday. She’s grown so much.
This is Aiden’s birthday month, and we usually take a trip every year for his birthday. This year, his birthday trip wasn’t planned until a few weeks prior. Let me tell you how random my planning is. I was browsing Facebook as always, and I stumbled on someone’s status. It read something like “Can’t wait to take the kids on their first Disney Cruise next year 2017. Deposits have already been made.” If I tell you that I had never considered a Disney Cruise prior to this, you’d think I’m lying. Aiden wasn’t into any Disney Characters at the time, so it didn’t occur to me. After reading the status, I went on the Disney website and booked a 4 day Disney Cruise for our family to the Bahamas.
We flew into Orlando, and went to Universal Studios Orlando. We then drove to the port and off we sailed to the Bahamas.
- Aiden Turns 3
After our Florida/Disney trip, we celebrated Aiden’s birthday at home with a few of his friends & all his cousins. He couldn’t decide what theme to pick so he had 3 themes and 3 cakes. He was turning 3 so I said, why not.
We took a trip to Toronto in February as well. It was cold, but super fun. We visited family, and met with another friend from my ‘mommy group’ – Rebecca. We also went to the Niagara Falls. It was so beautiful.
I love meeting my mommy friends because we have kids the same age and it’s just great to meet people you’ve been friends with on Facebook for years and also watch the kids play together.
We didn’t do any travelling this month, but I am thankful to say that we did close escrow on our new home. It has been quite a change from where we lived before, but we are adjusting to it and making the best of it.
Lesson learned – movers are a an absolute MUST!
We decided why not, and sold our soul / got a pool. We picked the worst contractors ever. It was such a nightmare dealing with them and it took them months, VS weeks to finish our pool. It was a busy month dealing with them and unpacking as well. By the way, unpacking is no fun. That’s the most exhausting part about moving. Trying to figure out where things that had a perfect spot in your old home should fit in your new home.
Aiden and I traveled to New Orleans and spent Mother’s Day together. We had such an amazing mommy and son trip. We visited Audubon Zoo, and spent some time in the French Quarter. Oh, and we had matching tops :). It was Mother’s day after all.
- Utah & Oklahoma
My trip to Salt Lake City and Oklahoma City were both work trips; and Aiden tagged along. We didn’t do much here. Aiden attended a drop-in center while I was work. After work I picked him up, we had dinner and he played with some friends.
- Costa Rica
A fellow friend from my mommy group who is also a blogger, Carolina (Mama Instincts) posted a blog post about Costa Rica. I asked her a few questions and that was enough for me to book a trip there. We flew to San Jose & did lots of activities on this trip; zip lining, ATV and horseback riding. Aiden was able to participate in all of them and had a blast. That little boy is fearless.
- Aiden Models for Old Navy
Aiden booked his first job with Old Navy this month. This was exciting for all of us. You can read more about it here – “Aiden Models for Old Navy.” He had such an amazing time shooting for Old Navy and that meant a lot to me.
We traveled to Des Moines for a very dear friend of mine’s wedding. I was one of her bridesmaids so this wedding meant a lot to me.
Aiden has been to Las Vegas so many times as it’s just about a short 4.5hr drive from Los Angeles. We walked the strip in the evening and went to the Children’s Museum. Which is the biggest I’ve been to so far.
We went on two trips this month to celebrate our 5-year wedding anniversary. The first was to Texas and the second was to Europe.
We went to Houston. It was really hot so we enjoyed lots of swimming and pool side relaxation. We also visited the Health Museum.
My husband and I went to Paris for our honeymoon, and it was significant for us to take Aiden there. We went shopping, visited the Eiffel Tower and of course, went to Disneyland Paris.
I wanted sand and sun, and Barcelona was the perfect location. Aiden and I rode jet ski’s for our first time. We also did parasailing and spent lots of time at the beach. We visited the La Sagrada Familia which was beautiful and Camp Nou – the Barcelona stadium.
- Ells Gets Her License & A Car
After lots of practice driving, and even driving me to Las Vegas and back, Ells felt confident enough to take her behind the wheel at the DMV. And excitingly enough, she passed on her first try. We were so excited for her; our new errand runner, lol. Little does she know what’s coming. We also bought her a car. We found it on Craigslist for a decent price and she was happy with it. Aiden loves it too.
Aiden went on a trip this month to Boston with his cousins Ethan and Avery. My sister-in-law and I were just simply their chaperones. The boys are obsessed with Thomas so a trip to Thomas Land in Carver was perfect for them. They also went to the Boston Children’s Museum.
I love visiting Portland and was excited to take a trip there with my family. We visited the Multnomah Falls, the Portland Children’s Museum and the Japanese Gardens. We grabbed donuts at the famous VooDoo donuts. Aiden had M&M donut and loved it. There are so many outdoorsy things to do in Portland, and the food is amazing.
I found $40 RT tickets to Denver from LAX on Frontier Airlines and snagged them immediately. We thoroughly enjoyed this trip. The weather was great and we rented a convertible. We visited Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater, Rocky Mountain National Park – Bear Lake, Estes Park and the Children’s Museum.
With all the tension this month due to the elections, we decided to get away from it. My husband, Aiden and I traveled to China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand; and Ells traveled to Yaoundé, Cameroon to visit our parents. It’s been 7 years since she went back home. Click HERE to watch an awesome video on her trip.
We had a very long layover here on our way to Thailand, so we spent the night at a hotel in Beijing. We drove around down town, Tienanmen Square and Forbidden City. We also visited the Great Wall of China. It was simply amazing. Riding the toboggan down was Aiden’s favorite part.
- Singapore & Malaysia
We went to Singapore because I found out that there was a Thomas Town there. Aiden is obsessed with Thomas & Friends, so this seemed perfect. When we got to Singapore, we found out that Thomas Town is actually in Malaysia, so we had to find someone who had the permit to take us across. We eventually made it across and Aiden had such a blast.
In Singapore, we walked around, went to the shops (there is so much shopping to do there, and it’s expensive also). We rode the hop on/off bus with the open top deck which is one of the easiest way to see the city.
In Malaysia we went to Thomas Town – Puteri Harbor which is located in Johor Bahru. There is also a Hello Kitty Town, Bob the Builder, Barney and Lego Land over there.
Both countries are on our list to visit again as we didn’t have enough time there.
This was the highlight of all my trips this year. I fell in love with Thailand. The people, the food, I mean everything about it. I don’t like to travel to the same place twice, but I’d definitely visit Thailand again that’s for sure. We visited Bangkok and Phuket.
We went to the floating market, the Children’s Museum, visited the temples and especially the Golden Buddha in Bangkok. Aiden and I even got to hold a snake, scary stuff! In Phuket we relaxed by the beach, got bitten by mosquitoes, went to the Upside Down and the Trickeye Museum. Aiden also attended a school for a few days and he loved it.
Running away when California gets cold is my specialty. That’s why it’s no surprise that we spent a week in Puerto Vallarta for Christmas. We rented a beachfront condo from AirBnB with killer views. This was a relaxing vacation so we spent lots of time at the beach and in the pool. We also did a day pirate cruise which Aiden absolutely loved.
We hired a photographer while were there and had our Christmas photos taken.
- Aiden Books a Role in a Film
Aiden auditioned for a role in a film a few months ago. This month we were informed that he had got the role and will start shooting in January. His schedule was moved up a bit and he worked on the 30th & 31st. He even got his own honey-wagon with his stage name on it. When we got the location for the shoot, the security asked, “Is he one of the actors?” My son? An Actor? WOW, God is Good!! We are over the moon excited for him and this new venture. We are hoping that this will open doors for much more in the future. He did so well on set, and had an amazing time with his movie brothers and sisters. We are all so proud of him.
Don’t get me wrong. Our family had challenges, more than one, several actually. But the positive outweigh the negatives. This year I am choosing to celebrate all the positives. With that being said, it was truly an amazing year for our family. As I go into 2017, I can foresee that it’s going to be a good year. We have no major plans for 2017, but I know that whatever happens, it will be something to be thankful for. As far as travel, we do have one trip planned to Argentina, and the reason why I booked it so early is because I found and error fare for $165 RT. No way I could pass on that.
I hope that this new year 2017 brings you lots of joy and happiness!!
“Lots of Love”
How was your 2016? What plans do you have for 2017?
Leave me a comment and let me know